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ITRI, SEMI, CGU and NTSU Jointly Develop Flexible Hybrid Electronics Technology for Precision Sports

Published: Sep 06,2018

TAIPEI, Taiwan - To promote precision sports, ITRI, SEMI, Chang Gung University, and National Taiwan Sport University signed an agreement to jointly develop flexible hybrid electronics and to formulate a developmental blueprint for related industrial technology. Focus will be on smart wearable products that will assist the athletic community in collecting and analyzing data. This will help to identify athletes with potential and provide reference for coaches’ tactical decisions. Local and global companies will work together to establish an independent flexible hybrid electronics industry in Taiwan, paving the way to tap into the enormous market for sports technology.

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Dr. Chih-I Wu, ITRI's Vice President and General Director of Electronic and Optoelectronic System Research Laboratories, remarked that ITRI’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics Precision Motion Detection System utilizes wireless transmission technology to transfer myoelectric signals from the wearer of the device to a computer, and then uses algorithms to interpret muscle strength and fatigue. Integrated knowledge in various aspects of athletic training, the results can then be used in the course of training athletes or assisting in coaches’ tactical decisions.

This cooperation, he said, will take advantage of ITRI's excellence in information and communications and integrate the expertise of the industrial, academic, and research communities. Coaches and athletes can use the analysis provided by the technology to enhance the performance of athletes in training and competitions.

SEMI Taiwan President Terry Tsao stated that Taiwan has a comprehensive and highly vertical microelectronics industry supply chain and an impressive ability in integration, which yields key advantages in developing enormous business opportunities in flexible hybrid electronics. In collaboration with ITRI, FlexTech, a SEMI strategic partner for flexible hybrid electronics, on October 3 will formally establish the Taiwan FlexTech Steering Committee with the hope of assembling the academic, industrial, and research communities to jointly establish Taiwan's flexible hybrid electronics industry supply chain. Committee members will focus on smart wearables for precision athletics and fitness, assist in laying out a developmental blueprint for flexible hybrid electronics technology, and jointly promote international standards.

The SEMI-FlexTech global platform will enable local and global companies to engage in greater cooperation, while the Flexible Electronics Conference and Exhibition (FLEX Taiwan) will continue to play a vital role in enhancing the technological strengths of Taiwan's flexible hybrid electronics and boosting the industry's international visibility, Tsao said.

Chang Gung University President Chia Chu Pao remarked that his university was recognized in the 2018 Academic Ranking of World Universities, ranking third in Taiwan in biomedical engineering and first in nursing, and among the world's Top 100 in both fields. The University has already yielded successful integration of physiological signal and biomarker sensing, with practical applications in smart clothing, cardiac mapping, and the development of ultrasonic brain drug delivery systems.

Department of Electronic Engineering Dean Dr. Chao Sung Lai and his team, which has obtained funding through the Ministry of Science and Technology's Semiconductor Moonshot Project, are engaged in the development of engineering technology for Parkinson's disease clinical needs. It is expected that rapid screening of a large number of elderly in high risk groups will provide accurate results, generating an accurate basis for the use of digital medical science to diagnose disease.

The alliance will enable Dr. Lai and his team to enhance the R&D in elderly healthcare, while integrating the research on fatigue and wearable devices from School of Physical Therapy Department Head Ya-Ju Chang. This is expected to effectively strengthen applications in personalized precision sports.

National Taiwan Sport University indicated that developing sensors that can be used in sport contests has become an urgent topic in the development of competitive sports science in Taiwan. The sensors must be easily attached and comfortable, accurately collect the necessary training details in various sports, and comply with game rules.

They could record all training and the course of competition, and then transmit data to a cloud database for analysis and real-time feedback. The team from National Taiwan Sport University hopes to take advantage of its participation in this project to be on the frontline in integrating the needs of coaches and athletes, which will provide an important foundation in making the developed products competitive on a global scale.

In the future, the four parties will develop technology and products driven by the needs of trainers and athletes, and will focus on five topics – precision selection of potential athletes; precision training and monitoring; precision prediction of readiness; precision regulation of the competition process; and precision collection of analytical data.

The team from National Taiwan Sport University has decided to hone in on long-distance running, basketball, bicycling, and taekwondo as focus sports for applications, with an emphasis on short- and long-term training intervention and monitoring. This is then combined with Chang Gung University's expertise in physics, biological intelligence, athletic training, and especially fatigue detection. Meanwhile, ITRI's forte is on the development of flexible hybrid electronics technology, while SEMI plays a crucial role in linking related supply chain players and providing precision solutions for competitive athletics.

Together, the achievements of these organizations will be applied to Taiwan's top athletes, which will help to accurately uncover athletes with potential, engage in precision monitoring and prediction, and then provide real-time feedback and precision analysis based on the data collected. Over the long run, the technological applications will be extended to the textile industry to assist in the development of smart clothing technology and help the industry move into high added-value markets.

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